Admit it, the first image that comes to mind when you read "Chuck E Cheese vs. the BMW" has something to do with oversized rodent carnage and tire tracks. If you're over the age of eight, the BMW automatically wins in this scenario. Hands down.
As visually oriented as I am and as satisfying that image happens to be, this is a different story.
I recently described myself as a duck with one foot nailed to the floor, wearing a circular groove in the floor. I've often used the un-nailed foot to kick my own ass for making mistakes, saying the wrong thing, failing to meet my own expectations, not having the answers, losing my temper, blah blah blah.
For the last few months, I've been actively taking steps to loosen that nail.
It turns out, I've had the tool in my hands all along -- a hammer. I was just accustomed to using it to ensure that darn nail would keep my flappy foot firmly fastened. I looked more closely at that hammer, turned it around in my hands only to discover that hey, the other side of this metal thingie can be used to remove nails! Who knew?!
I realize that such a firmly fastened foot can't be removed all at once -- it's a gradual process, but I'm ok with that. On Sunday I found evidence that I have, in fact, had some success.
After meeting a friend for tea, I had to pick up @ at a birthday party. I got in my car, backed out, and cut the wheel too quickly, resulting in the sickening sound of expensive plastic against even more expensive plastic. I pulled back into my parking spot, got out and assessed my handiwork.
A year ago -- heck, even a few months ago -- back when I had to be perfect and mistakes were unacceptable, I would have unleashed a silent set of four-letter words at myself. I would have berated myself for being stupid, not paying attention, picking the expensive car to hit. I might have pretended to leave a note in case anyone was watching, but would have been too embarrassed to actually face up to the owner of the car. And then I'd beat myself up over the guilt of not leaving a note, and over the fears that prevented me from doing it. I'd stress out and hold onto that feeling for quite awhile.
Instead, I left a note with my contact info, carefully wrapped it in a plastic bag (it was raining), and went along to the evil noise/germ/chaosfarm that is Chuck E Cheese. The 45 minutes there were exponentially more painful than the 5 minutes with the scratched BMW in the parking lot.
Later that day the owner of the car called. I was prepared for an angry guy tirade, but I got an amazingly gracious woman. It was her birthday and she was out with friends. At first she thought the note was from another friend wishing her a happy birthday. Alas, not quite. Apparently, I picked the right car to hit... The insurance companies will deal with the damage -- which, thankfully, is minimal -- and life will go on.
But I'll never get those 45 minutes of my life back from Chuck E Cheese.